Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Americans who don't drink: uneducated, poor and old

Gallup released its annual poll yesterday about drinking in America. It's a prudish-sounding poll that started way back in 1939, and it gives an interesting perspective on how little America has changed in 71 years.

Here's my favorite part of it: analyzing the fully 1/3 of American adults who don't drink alcohol. This has to be among the highest percentages of any non-Muslim nation, and there's a reason: We still have lots of stupid people.

The facts are these. Americans who don't drink are most likely:

Uneducated: 42% of Americans who haven't gone beyond high school do not drink, compared with only 21% of college graduates.

Poor: 54% of Americans with incomes under $20,000 don't drink, compared with 19% of Americans with incomes over $75,000. (To be fair, it makes economic sense if you're that poor to save your money for food and rent.)

Protestant: 39% of American Protestants ignore the fact that Jesus turned water into wine, and don't drink God's gift to us, compared to 22% of Catholics and 20% of non-Christians.

Old: 41% of people over age 55 don't drink.

I'm glad to see Gallup point out that this is the age group that should be drinking, one glass a day at least, to get the benefits of alcohol in protecting against heart attacks.

One other item from the Gallup poll: The wine producing and writing worlds continue to be mostly male, but the customers in the US are not: Women prefer wine to beer by a huge margin (48 to 27%), while men prefer beer by an even larger margin (54 to 17%).

This makes me feel a bit like Freddy Rumsen on "Mad Men," using my superior knowledge of how women think to reach them on wine issues. Let's see: Wine will help you get married, not drinking wine will keep you single ...

Actually, I can just cite the facts:
Drinking wine makes you more educated, wealthier and younger! And, er, less Protestant.

(If you know the difference between causation and correlation, I'll bet you went to college. Which means if you're not drinking, you should be.)


Anonymous said...

tread carefully, blake. i know a few 55+ers who aren't going to take kindly to being called "old" ;-).

W. Blake Gray said...

I guess you're right; baby boomers will never actually get old.

Personal Wine said...

In the 70's it was the steam room, in the 80's it was the golf course, in the 90's it became the cigar lounge
in the 2000's still thru 2010 it became getting personal with a nice bottle of wine...

Learn about wine and you can dazzle people. You don't need to be a Somm to do so. Just learn how to describe a wine generally and you can seduce anyone!

-Alex Andrawes
CEO | Wines.com

Mike @ Wine Gourmet said...

The photo you chose for this article is priceless!

As an observant owner of a wine shop, I think you are 100% correct on who is NOT a wine drinker. Sometimes it's just as powerful to know who is not your market as it is to know who your market is.

Tommaso said...

More evidence that women are superior to men.

Anonymous said...

Statistics are good but it depends of the country. In Italy and France big wine drinkers, are generally people without instruction. They just drink for the pleasure and of course they are frequently drunk. Louis Pasteur said that the wine is the best of the drinks if it's used with moderation. Is recommended not to have more than 2 glasses a day because the alcohol is not good for the brain in any case.
In latin there is a phrase which says: In vino veritas. The truth in the wine...But they certainly meant that the abuse of alcohol bring the people to show who really they are:-)

Flux said...

I enjoy the blog, but in today's news comes a counterpoint.

Job interviewers were much less likely to positively evaluate an interviewee who drank wine during a dinner meeting.

W. Blake Gray said...

Flux: Interesting link, but let's face it, I wouldn't order a glass of wine at a job interview, even if that interview was for the job of writing about wine. I know because I had that interview. A job interview isn't the time to stand on principles, not in this economy.